Street Fighter isn't just another game franchise for many, it's a passion. Indeed my own love of Capcom's brawler started at Christmas 1992 when the Super Nintendo port of Street Fighter II was released - I still recall paying a gob-smacking $129.95 for it at Big W on the Gold Coast during our annual vacation. Indeed, it was an impressive title, and the first 16Mbit cartridge, which even my non-videogame playing family enjoyed. Following the success of the games the franchise moved into film, with two very average releases - 1994's Street Fighter which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and was actually shot on the Gold Coast, and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li which released a couple of years later. Both are rather forgettable.
In 2014 Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist was released but rather than being a fully-fledged film it was a 12-part mini-series (with Capcom's backing/blessing) released on Machinima's YouTube channel. That web series has been re-edited for TV and this Blu-Ray release into six episodes and an Epilogue with a 152 minute runtime and, while we have some issues, it remains more faithful to the property then either of the films by a long shot.
This really is an origin story for Ken and Ryo from Street Fighter and primarily focuses on their meeting as young boys, through training, and to the point where they are unleashed upon the world. If you've seen any martial arts films you would know what to expect here, but this has been shot pretty well and is given the added interest due to characters we've grown up playing in video games.
Interestingly this release has been rated MA15+ for strong violence here in Australia, but that's a bit surprising as, while there is fighting, it's not overly bloody or graphic. In fact, probably our biggest disappointment about this release is the lack of fighting throughout the 152 minute runtime. We expected more, or perhaps some cameos from other Street Fighter characters, but it isn't to be.
While it lacks actual fighting we enjoyed Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist quite a bit and it has certainly built our interest in the second series, called Street Fighter II: The World Warrior which is due out early next year. It promises a bigger budget and will feature the characters Guile, Chun Li and M. Bison. If you're a fan of this franchise then this first series is certainly worth checking out.
This series is encoded in the now standard AVC MPEG-4 codec at 1080p but is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, and not a Widescreen-filling 16:9 (1.78:1) ratio as the Blu-Ray cover states. For a series shot on what we assume was a very tight budget, the set design and location shoots in this film look pretty sensational. Sure there are occasional issues with some aliasing, and blacks that aren't as deep as one would hope, but overall this is a pretty impressive looking release that surpasses the video quality on the DVD release.
There are no other audio tracks on this disc beyond the audio commentary (more on that under Extras), while the subtitle tracks are available as English Subtitles for Japanese Dialogue (which is on by default) and English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which turns subtitles on at all times.
There are a few extras on this Blu-Ray with the highlight being the Audio Commentary. This is what to expect...
Audio Commentary with Director Joey Ansah: This is a rather insightful commentary from the man who not only directed this film but also created and co-wrote it with Christian Howard (who plays Ken). It's a pretty decent audio commentary which details what it took to get the series created.
Ken's Video Diary (3:20/HD): A somewhat amusing video diary, split up in three parts, as created by the character Ken. Short but amusing.
The Making Of... (14:38/HD): While this is much shorter then we hoped, it provides plenty of insight into the creation of this series and features interviews with the creator and cast. This is split up into nine segments titled as follows: "Joey Ansah - Director", "Jacqueline Quella - Producer", "Akira Koieyama - Goken", "Mike Moh (Ryu) & Christian Howard (Ken)", "Togo Igawa - Gotetsu", "Hyunri - Sayaka", "Costume Design", "Into The Action" and "The Special Effects".
Deleted Scenes (11:10/HD): Four deleted scenes are presented here and titled "Who the Hell is Dan?" (4:11), "Goki's Photograph" (1:51), "Letter from Mr. Masters" (2:12), and "Paying Respects" (2:56). There are some decent scenes here, but given the 152 minute runtime of this series already it's probably good they were trimmed out.
Main Trailer (1:50/HD): A pretty decent trailer for the release although it makes it look a lot more action packed then it is.
Review By: Dave Warner